There’s something about French guys… and you just want to hear what they have to say! I’m often asked what my husband thinks about American culture, food, the people and more. Curious minds want to know what French guys think about all kinds of things, so today, my husband, Tom, is kicking off a new series called The Frenchman speaks: Ask Tom Tuesdays. He’s answering your questions about whatever you want to know….
Up first? The differences between French and American women. Go!
Ask Tom Tuesdays: Differences between American and French women
First and foremost, I want to sincerely thank my husband for taking part in this series. It’s not easy to write well in a foreign language and his English skills make me really proud. So thank you, Tom, for being open to this.
Ready? In case you missed it, I’ve written before about how to look French, but reader Rayni has the following question for Tom:
Question: What do you think are the biggest differences between French and American women?
Before I start, I just wanted to share this disclaimer:
This post reflects only my opinion which is based on my own experiences. Depending on everyone’s own experiences, things can be viewed from a different angle, so you can totally disagree with me here. Please keep in mind that what I write here is just a general feeling, and that it doesn’t necessarily apply to each and every individual…
So what are the differences between American and French women… to be honest, this is kind of a tough question for my first post! It’s tough because as I said in the disclaimer, it’s related to my personal experience, and most of all, because Diane is American, and considering that aside from her and her family, I don’t know any American women well. But I’ve visited many times and watch a lot of American TV, so I’m qualified to answer although I’d better watch what I’m going to state here!!!
Ok, well, it looks like I’m buying some time here with justifications, so finally, here we go:
Personality: Cold vs. warm?
I think that the thing that struck me the most about my interactions with American women was that I’d generally find them warmer than the majority of French women. I’ve been able to speak to American women in some situations where I’d never have ended up talking to French women I think. It seems easier to have a conversation with an American woman, even if you absolutely don’t know her at first than with a French woman.
I’ve talked a few minutes to cashiers, to random women in the street just asking for directions and other small talk situations that wouldn’t really occur with a French woman beyond a simple exchange. A lot of times (and I think this is particularly true in big cities, but not only in cities), French women seem to be colder on the outside, less open to conversing with strangers and don’t really show any interest. It often contrasts with the enthusiasm that American women can show towards the person they’re conversing with.
I find that the American social style is really refreshing (even if that enthusiasm can sometimes be excessive and look fake).
Beyond what I just mentioned, I think the French standoffishness is a way for French women to keep that sense of being inaccessible precisely to be more desirable. That behavior can be summed up by the French saying that translates to, “Follow me I will flee, flee from me, I will follow.”
As a consequence, French women can often appear vain and haughty, carrying a I’m-too-good-for-you-face. Even if French males are used to that, I must admit that it can be really tiring over time. That being said, I always wonder if American women tend to be more open, enthusiastic and curious toward me because I’m French and they notice the differences? My nationality could also play into that friendly attitude.
American relationship code
In the course of my relationship with Diane, as it was getting more and more serious, I noted something I wasn’t really expecting. At some point we started talking about the future of our relationship and Diane told me that we were doing nothing more than dating up until that point (although we both weren’t seeing anyone else and clearly wanted to be with just each other, yet didn’t say it).
That was really surprising for me, because in my mind we were more than just dating — we were partners and had been for a while, so I was almost shocked by what I heard — that to her, we were just dating. I finally figured out that she said that because we were not officially anything else.
There’s some kind of American dating code where you have to take the next steps and go from dating to being exclusive, because if you don’t talk about it, you’re not really sure where the relationship stands.
It seems that for Americans, first you date, then you’re boyfriend/girlfriend, then engaged and finally you get married. If you’ve been in a relationship for many years, as long as you haven’t taken the next official step, you’re still considered just boyfriend/girlfriend I guess. When we started talking about the idea of getting married, Diane helped me understand that for Americans, there’s an engagement first and that usually comes with a proposal and a ring (and that I’d better not mess up!).
If I was getting married to a French woman, I don’t think I’d have tortured myself too much to make the greatest proposal ever (it was still up to the American standards I think!). (Diane’s note: It was! Cliffside on the Pacific Coast Highway overlooking the ocean. Then later he managed to find a florist who sold him rose petals. And even got my favorite frozen yogurt and RAN over a mile back to the hotel to get it in the mini fridge before it melted in the LA heat.)
I first thought it was about Diane, something she wanted, but I soon realized that the same was going on for all her friends. American women seem to be more attached to norms in a relationship process, whereas I think that French women don’t focus that much on the steps (people don’t really get engaged nowadays before getting married and having kids in France). They can live a happy relationship without having to follow the “code.”
It almost appears to me that if an American woman couldn’t take all those steps, she would feel like a failure.
(Diane’s note: It was never a lifelong dream of mine to get married and have a big wedding, but because of our circumstances, we felt marriage was the right step to take so we could live together since we knew we wanted to be together anyway. I figured since we only do this once, we might as well get engaged, get a ring and have a little wedding! Just at a restaurant with close friends and family. But I do admit that American women, in general, make a HUGE deal out of the wedding and it’s big business! And that’s not the case in France although it’s starting…)
Another area where norms seem to be prevalent is the beauty standards. French women, like American ones, are of course all different when it comes to looks. But from what I’ve seen over my trips to the U.S. and the TV shows I watch, I find that there’s a beauty standard featured, where the ideal woman would be a fit, long and straight haired blond woman (with a little tan).
Here, I think French women, instead of trying to fit to a standard, would showcase their natural beauty, and use what they have to try to make the best out of what they’ve got. That’s not to say French women don’t tan or dye their hair, but it just seems to be more prevalent among American women.
Style: Comfy and chic
Among the dress code for French women is the lingerie! I have to admit that I was surprised that American women (at least for the one I know best! haha) don’t wear the same style of lingerie as French women. I really thought that Diane was just a little old school! But no, I was actually surprised to note that the lingerie at the Victoria’s Secret store was the same kind as the type worn by my wife. (Diane’s note: I admit I go for comfort when it comes to everyday undergarments and don’t see the point in wearing frilly, sheer, lace bras when they leave bumps under a t-shirt and let the whole world know when you’re cold.)
French women always wear sexy lingerie, bras with lots of lacy style, and every day, not only when they go to a date. Once again, American style seems to be more about comfort (I’m not saying the style is bad, it actually look nice, you can just tell it’s not made to be just sexy, but comfortable too like that seamless stuff, Diane just told me the word).
Another area which illustrates the differences between American and French women is how they choose to dress. Most French women would try to always look chic, or let’s say at least a little dressed up. I was pretty surprised the first time I went to the U.S. and saw so many women dressed very casually in stores, at Starbucks and everywhere. Like sneakers and lounge pants!
Most French women wouldn’t go out of their homes wearing a hoodie and sweatpants if it’s not to go for a run. Even to go get a baguette at the bakery, they tend to dress up. Senior citizens too! Same thing when they just go grab a coffee with a friend (or should I say, sit down for a coffee, since we don’t do the take away in France). (Diane’s note: So true! Even our 68-year-old neighbor wears heels, a full face of makeup and “smart” clothes to walk the dog. And we live in western France nowhere near Paris!).
I’ve read things about foreigner men who would underline that chicness and find it attractive. Even if I can’t disagree, I also really like how American women can sometimes just think about comfort and look relaxed where French women torture themselves and wear heels when not needed at all, but just for the look!
So there you have it, the differences between American and French women. Those differences are what came to mind the most just based on my experience.
Again, a BIG THANK YOU to Tom for being a good sport. So readers, tell me, what differences have you noticed between the two nationalities? And what part of Tom’s answer did you find the most interesting?
Do you have a question for Tom?
Submit your questions in the comments below, via email here or on Facebook or Twitter. Maybe you’ll see it answered in a future post (hope to run this once a month or whenever Tom has time). And as always, thank you for stopping by!
Molly @ Toffee Bits and Chocolate Chips in Paris! says
LOVE the new series! Awesome job Tom! There are always so many questions I want to ask Frenchmen! I’ve been in a relationship with a frenchman and we went on three, what I would call dates, which went amazing, then out of nowhere, a note like we were breaking off a relationship that had been going on for a couple months. So weird! We’re friends now but still flirt all the time. haha Still hoping it goes back to being a ‘relationship.’ ooo the accent! haha
Thanks for checking out the new series! Yes, the dating “norms” are definitely different in a lot of areas, but I was just upfront with Tom and said whoa wait, we need to talk because I think it’s a cultural misunderstanding. And then once we talked things through, we realized we were on the same page. Hey, gotta keep it interesting right?? Hope you get back w/the French guy if that’s what you want. 😉
This was so interesting, I can’t wait for the rest of the series!
I think its interesting that French women dress up just to run a small errand, while American women will just throw something on to go get groceries, or something. I think thats really cool, because, even though it takes longer to put some effort into an outfit before going out, its more respectful of the people you’ll interface with while out and about. Not everyone wants to see someone wearing just sweatpants and a hoodie… no matter how comfortable it is.
Awesome post, loved it d^_^b
Tom is so thrilled everyone liked his blogging debut! Thanks for taking the time to comment. Yes, it is cool that women look put together and there are way less sloppy looking people here. But I hate putting in all that effort with makeup and hair and nice clothes if I’m only going to the bakery! Ahhh, guess I’ll never be French!
I really enjoyed the new series. Please thank Tom for jumping in and sharing his views.
He loves the response, so thanks for taking the time to read his point of view!
Thanks for the new addition to an already great blog. I find it interesting in that the first question asked is very indicative of the differences between French and American women. As Americans we give little thought to asking “personal” type questions straight off of the bat. Well done, Tom!
So happy you enjoyed the post! Funny you mention personal questions — a question dealing w/that was submitted for a future Ask Tom post. Stay tuned!
I love this series! So funny and fresh, and interesting to hear the Frenchman’s perspective. Still waiting to hear if he has any nice French guy friends in Austin he can introduce me to…except I’m pretty intimidated now by the whole lingerie expectation, oof. 🙂 Great post!
Unfortunately, he doesn’t know anyone in Austin or Texas as a whole. ;-(( Yes, damn the French and their totally non-functional lingerie!
The difference in the relationship code is a big one! My boyfriend skipped over the “what are we?” conversation as well, which led to a big misunderstanding when he told me how he wanted to introduce his friends to his “copine.”
I know time is a little different for international couples because of visa issues, but my boyfriend said that if he was with a French girl, he would definitely wait at least five years before making a legal commitment. Not sure if that is an idea held by many French men or women, though.
Oh how I miss sometimes going out to run in errand in the early morning wearing decent comfy clothes and not feeling judged…
Hahha, glad it’s not only me. I think we’ve all had French guy dating mishaps because the expectations are different. Apparently, there’s no casual kissing either. If you make out, in his mind, you’re a couple!
Casual kissing? What do you mean by that?
This is a darling blog post! It’s great to get your perspective, though I think you probably could do so without those cute disclaimers. Maybe it’s a French thing? Maybe Americans are so used to giving their opinions that everyone just sort of naturally understands that, hey, this is your perspective only.
Anyhow, I’m surprised that you like the more casual look of American woman, not that you prefer it, but you seem to understand how it’s practical.
I visited Paris earlier this year and went crazy worrying about dressing up enough to not stick out. I guessed it worked since I was mistaken for a local several times. You merely have to wear skinny jeans and a scarf, it seems! I fell so in love with France that when I returned I actually found Americans were too loud in restaurants and could really stand to dress up more. Funny! I only spent a week in Paris… Now, I feel out of place if I want to dress up a little to go to the store. No one seems to do it, especially during the summer when it’s hot.
I’m really looking forward to reading more of this blog. This is my first visit and I was sent here by Ella Coquine. She said I might better understand the whole having a pet in Paris thing if I read this blog. Yeah, I have the fever to live there. I don’t have a solid plan yet, but plenty of ideas. And I’m studying the language. Those years of high school and college French did little to help me on my visit, but there’s nothing to motivate you to learn a language than feeling lost in another country.
Hi it’s Diane (maybe Tom will comment later on after work). I think Tom opted for a disclaimer because he’s seen me post stuff (clearly my opinion) using the words all or everyone and then someone will comment and say well I know a French person who isn’t rude/a smoker/etc. So just to avoid any misunderstandings and to be polite I guess. 😉 It’s the French way!
It feels good to dress up sometimes and there’s no better place than Paris to do it. Glad you loved France! And I’ll have to thank Ella Coquine for sending you here. A post on pet culture in France vs. The USA is coming soon… Thx again!
Thanks Diane! I haven’t caught up on everything on your blog yet. I’m looking forward to hearing more. Not sure how easy it would be to take my pets with me to Paris. However, if I do go to Paris to live, it would probably be for just one year. I suppose it wouldn’t be the end of the world to leave them with a sitter for a year. Would make me sad though… By the way, your blog is very inspirational. I’m still trying to convince my husband that we can do this.
I love this new serie! So interesting!
We don’t date in France, i would say. If you go out with a guy/girl you can say ou are boyfriend/girlfriend. But I think most of the girls want to get engaged,with a ring and a formal proposal! (at least most of my friends do). And we dream more and more of a wedding like in movies, like in US.
I got engaged two weeks ago, and I think it was a “in like a movie” proposal. Now I dream of my wedding, like in movies, outside, under a flowery arch.
For the lingerie, I agree with Tom. When I went to New York, I went shopping and wanted to buy lingerie. In most of the shops I found the lingerie very simple and casual. Nothing sexy, with lace or “froufrou”. In France we only have one or towo casual bras and panties and many in lace! But I wouldn’t buy something not comfy either! It has to be comfy and sexy! lol
I’m really looking forward to a new post like that!
Awesome to hear another perspective from a French woman. So thank you! I think the dating world (American vs French) is something that is very different in the cultures. American women like to go on dates (dinner, movie, picnic, whatever) until they know the guy is for them and many of my friends would date several guys at the same time. Nothing serious. I feel like this would hurt a French guy’s feelings because the understanding in France is that if you’re hanging out together and spending time on dates, that it must be serious. Not so in the US! So I’m happy Tom touched on that in this post in case any non-French women are dating a French guy! Thank you for weighing in as well. AND CONGRATS ON YOUR ENGAGEMENT! That’s wonderful!
I have no clue where to buy good (not 100 euros/bra though), comfortable lingerie in France that actually has coverage and isn’t a little lace thing. Princess Tam Tam isn’t the greatest nor is Etam. I love La Perla but it’s out of my price range!
Thanks for your comment and congrats again!
Susan Walter says
Diane have you tried Decathlon for practical comfortable underwear that doesn’t cost a fortune? The range there isn’t all for sportswomen who need super support and don’t care about anything else. I’d also suggest Auchan — last time I looked they had a range of very simple, very inexpensive cotton underwear.
Thank you for the suggestion, Susan. I’ll have to check those places out. For now, I just buy from Victoria’s Secret at home. I think getting some things from the US makes me feel like I’m still attached to the US in some way. Like my underwear, my peanut butter, my toothpaste. 😉
Thank you, Tom! This was great fun to read!
Ashley of Ashley Abroad says
Thanks for the post Diane and Tom, what a fascinating insight! I heard a similar impression from the French guy I was dating before I left…
Thanks for checking out the post! The world of dating is definitely weird here. Thankfully I only dated one French guy and don’t have to worry about misunderstandings now.
Hi Tom, moi je habite en France depuis 4 ans. Tonight I am going out with a man who I just clicked with at a party some weeks ago. I am Swedish myself and I am in my 40:s and speak and understand french. There is only one BUT here and that is BUT I don’t know how to be funny in french. In english and swedish I can, and I am afraid that he will not find me interesting enough – that he will be missing that part where I don’t get all the subtilities of french. What do you think Tom – does it matter to a french man that a woman doesn’t master his language to perfection?
Hi Maria! I don’t think you should be worried about that at all. I mean everyone is different, but there’s much more when you interact with someone than just words and language subtleties. There’s body language and facial expression and overall personality. I’d say to look at the bright side of it, you have something different that you can bring to that person, and I think it makes you interesting, more than if you mastered all the subtleties of French. I’ve personally never even considered that as a problem, and I’ve been able to have very good laughs with Diane when we met, even if neither her or I would master the other one’s mother tongue at that time! So go ahead, and if it’s worth it with that person then you’ll have plenty of time to master French and its subtleties 😉
I have read this post sometime ago and I just found myself here again…I don’t where to start, but I will just say everything is a matter of perspective. It looks like Tom is not fan of French girls. For whatever reason that is.
As for me, I prefer the French (but mainly European women); and I’m not a big fan of American women. That’s just me. I live here in the States, but I also lived in France, USA, and in Cameroon while growing up. I have dated girls from those countries and a few others (Japan, German).
I must say the American women are not on the top of my list. I can go on and list all the things I don’t like, but I will skip it. Tom, with all due respect, the grass is always greener on the other side. I don’t want to sound like a douche, but it looks like you only said the things you knew your wife would like. And you gave the people on your site when they wanted to hear.
I like “chic” women; which you said the French are
I like “sexy” lingerie; you’re talking about “comfort”
French (and the others I have met for that matter) tend to be frank, American women, most aren’t.
I can go on with this too. But you get the point. But again, I don’t want to generalized.
Anyway, have a good one
HI Fab, thanks for your comment and checking out the post. I understand where you’re coming from and I think everyone has their own preferences and brings a bias to everything (not just dating). Isn’t life about perspective? I mean we can find chic and beautiful women from all over the planet regardless of nationality. I guess the trick is finding the partner that you love and vice versa regardless of where they were born or what stereotypes they fall into. It’s perfectly fine American women aren’t at the top of your list. Variety and choice are wonderful things. Hope you found someone to make you happy. 😉
nicole | the wondernuts says
The only women I’ve ever known to be frank are American women.
I assure you that if you use feel the need to use the word “douche,” American women find you even less attractive than you find them. You sound like a misogynist. Rest assured the American women whom you encounter would be relieved to know that you are looking for love elsewhere. You are exactly the kind of American male whom American women cross the street to avoid.
First of all, American Women are way more beautiful than French women . Can’t compare
Just found your blog through Matthiildee blog…and stumbled across this post first. Very funny and look forward to reading more! Originally from near Seattle and my husband from Millau Aveyron and we live in Toulouse and I must say that your experiences sound so similar! This article particularly made me laugh! Even before meeting my husband I had a French roommate during my Erasmus year and she could not believe my lingerie…so bland, colorless and was shocked when I set I never matched my bra to underwear and all those little things that you eventually adapt to. Looking forward to reading more.
I’m French and I completly agree with what I just read here. French girl are a matter of dispair for me because they are just desperatly cold and refuse any interraction with me. When I am fortunate enough to meet American girls, it feels so good so be able to firt and to feel appretiation from the opposite sex. God Bless America.
As an American woman, I’d say this post is pretty accurate.
I have some input that come from my experience. I am not a 100% french, an island guy, but after living in France for a Long time enough, i can tell the culture from my glimpse, i have lived in America for few years, and have dated few americans,i speak english witha slightly french accent and definetly dress like a french. First of all, i think that american people are more friendly than french, but it can be superficial most of the time. American girls are, according to my point of view, attracted to anything european, anything french, they love your accent, the way you dress, chivalry etc…they want to learn french, eat french food, and want to be skinny like french girls. After dating some american girls, i have realized that, America is a matriarchal society, they have the control of everything in the household, and she is the Boss. American girls are materialistic in general, that makes this nation powerful though, and that makes the men to go on a limb and provide for her. But the downsize is the love and acceptation is based on “money”, can you take care of my bills? That’s their concerns It s not a teamwork based by love anymore. Whereas, french girls don t care about that issue that much, they can be good mate and good mother/ wife because of love, my american girl,colleague said: can love pay the bills? See…Was in a bar and heard few girls talking with each other about one who has got a date, one question popped up is, how much he is making? Does hehave a good job? If you ask me as a man, i think, french girls are cold hearted in the begining, that s part of their culture, but they are classy. I have seen many beautiful gils too in US, but you know, beauty is a skin deep. That settle that subject. To end my little comment, have you seen the movie ” the Johneses” you can have a glimpse of an american woman in the households of that movie, just look at both sides, positive and negative , and have your own perspective. Thanks for reading.
Part of being a good husband is being able to provide for the family. Having a decent job and being able to pay the bills is a prerequisite for any marriage almost anywhere. I find your comment ironic given that many wives from overseas (I’m in a military community) think American women are silly for marrying for love. They think we should find a good man who can provide and that any love that develops in the realtionship afterward is a bonus. It’s interesting to me you see the opposite.
I absolutely love this blog! What a wonderful insight into living and France, with interesting conversations to boot. I find Pierre’s comment a bit odd; maybe he’s just hanging around in the wrong circles. I married for love, and it has always been EXTREMELY important to me to make my own money. My husband and I are equal partners. We both make an income to support our family, we both do housework, we both take care of our kid, cook, help with homework, etc. I would never marry someone expecting him to “provide for the family” if I weren’t also prepared to provide for the family. And I would never marry someone who expected me to “hold down the home fort” alone while he went out into the world to make a living. To expect a man to be the sole provider is to assume that women can’t earn a living, which is silly.
I watched a special on mail order brides from Europe who thought American women should try to be a bit sexier every waking minute of the day. Sorry, but if I wore dresses up to there, stillettos, and cleavage hanging out just to go pick up groceries or take the dog to the vet, I’d be called a slut. European women wear the same thing, their profile pics are often nothing shy of soft porn, but they get called beautiful and exotic. Can’t have and expext American women to tolerate the double standard, “gentlemen”.
First Thank You (Merci) for having this post site and is in which I can get between the lines of French standardized culture without just receiving traditional feedback.
I need to understand my standing with a French lady that I’m going to see for the 8th time in our lives. Meaning we’ve spent mostly 1 month together on each occasion. And yes, sex was present but I need to understand what does sex actually mean to a mostly friendly relationship to a French woman. She is not trashy or anything like that but I need to understand how her traditional values play into her life.
Here is a nutshell review of our relationship.
I’m a 55 year old man (married for 20 years and now divorced) who met a French lady in Paris back in 1981. She is a 53 year old woman who has never married nor bore children. Of course, we never wrote or visited the other while I was married, but after my married ended we connected again and I am going back to France for the 4th time since 2010. She wants me to stay with her in NIce and wants me to work there. I know getting a job is never easy in a foreign country but I want to understand if this means that she wants more than to be friends?? What are the cultural ties to what she has put up to me? Any kind of feedback will help or if you need to know more information please request. Of course this is very important to me. I leave in June, so I am going on a one-way plane ride and have no return date set yet.
Hi Pete, thanks for writing. I think your best course of action is to speak to this woman directly and try to get a sense of what she’s after and her expectations. That’s really the only way to 100% know how she sees you, your relationship and your possible move to France. Otherwise a lot is left over to interpretation and misunderstandings.
She obviously cares for you (and seems reciprocal) and after all this time has reconnected. The timing seems right, now right? You’re no longer married and she’s not with anyone? I think for her it’s clear in her mind that she wants to be with you and be your partner.
If it feels right, go for it. Life is too short. If nothing is holding you back at home, go to Nice, test the waters, have a Frank conversation with her and take it from there. For me, it seems like she’s very fond of you and wants a companion and someone to share her life with.
Restin Pees says
I confess that it’s been 37 years since I lived in France, but the most obvious difference I noticed was shower frequency. I’ve noticed American women might shower multiple times in a single day while the behavior in France in the 1970s followed the Saturday bath custom. This also is noticed in shampoo frequency. I reason that this might account for the superior selection and quality of French perfume.
The other glaring difference: I frequently observe American women walking with all the grace of a Clydesdale while when you follow a French woman you begin to sing to yourself the song her symphony of feet, hips, shoulders and head are sensously playing.
Kirsten Monteil says
This is GREAT! My friend, (met her on ‘Survive France Network, a forum for English speaking ex-pats living in France), sent me your link because I am married to a Frenchman from Ardeche. I live in L.A. where I was born and he immigrated to in ’83. We plan to retire in France. I ‘bookmarked’ this blog – well done both of you 😀
Thanks very much, Kirsten! So glad you’re enjoying the post. And thank your friend for me too. 😉 Have a wonderful weekend!
I’am a french woman. I’ve read Tom’s opinion on the biggest différence between Americans and french women . I agree that french women are more standoffish but let me explain the reasons 1) American men are différent from french men which affects the interaction Man- Women naturelly . French men don’t take NO for an answer instead they go on pestering women thinking they will eventually win them over , in addition they make bets with their mates . So that explains that women are not interested and walk away fast . Do american men behave in this way ?
Lionel from Paris says
My good lady, you must be terribly insecure to formulate such generalizations as “all french men pester women” and (how ridiculous, sorry), “they make bets with their mates” (are we talking of grown-up men or teenager boys here?). I have another explanation for the aloofness of French women : it’s in their genes , that’s all . Or better : there is no real explanation. It’s a cultural thing. When I was a young man, I used to find that snotty attitude utterly unpleasant and was wondering if something was wrong with me. Now at 62 I don’t give a damn anymore, for I’m not “in the race ” anymore ( or if I am it is with grannies, which is far easier in a way than having to deal with “little spoilt French princesses”).
I love Tom’s description of the differences he’s observed between French women & American women. I am an American woman who admires the approach French women take to their appearance & attention they pay to having what I consider “good manners”. Why should others be forced to observe a woman at less than her best because she’s too lazy or perhaps harried or suffers from negative self esteem issues to take a few extra minutes to insure she presents herself to the world propetly clothed & decently groomed for the occasion. Going to the grocery store in pajama pants & slippers isn’t necessarily cute, charming or the way a woman with any style, class or dignity should be willing to expose herself to the possibilities she may encounter. I suggest that French women are more “prepared” than American women to take advantage of their best attributes. In addition, I do agree with Tom regarding the warmth & openness expressed by American women toward him. However, I wouldn’t say American women are as open & warm to American men. I hate to admit it but, I suspect Tom’s French accent has a great deal to do with the accepting, warm & open interactions he has experienced with American women. Of course, one does not wish to generalize too much, as there are some American women who are well traveled, at ease among those of other nationalities & not especially overwhelmed by a French, English, Australian, German or South Ametican or South African, etc… man’s accent but, many American women are silly about European or other accents that have a very cultured sound, unless they’ve lived overseas. American women aren’t accustomed to chivalrous, elegantly behaved men either, on the whole. This is, of course, their own doing in many ways. So, the experience of interracting with a true gentleman may be a new & unique experience for many American women. Let’s face it, a cultured accent attached to an attractive, chivalrous, well mannered, charming fellow isn’t the average guy an American woman has occassion to meet here.
Personally, I find the fact French women are a bit reserved initially & do not behave as though they’ve never seen anything or gone anywhere a far more appropriate & ladylike way to behave upon first meeting a strange man. Falling all over a guy or being too warm & open can reveal everything about a woman’s personality all at once to a person she barely knows. I feel she needs to be a bit careful about how she presents herself, until she has a more clear picture about who she’s meeting. Of course, being rude &/or dismissive is also inappropriate.
The term lady is rarely used anymore, as if it’s an affectation to be put on like a garment & taken off, whenever one is completely relaxed with another &, at last, reveals the true person. My perception of French women, as with most women other than American women is that they still have a code (based on their culture) of conduct denoting ladylike behaviour. What is good manners and the correct way to behave in public in their culture rather than appropriate behaviour as an affectation.
As I am an American woman, I can say with some authority, American women do not express themselves as well as they could in a number of situations & under certain circumstances, do not appreciate how their appearance in public reflects on them personally & on Ametican women as a group or often have an appropriate sense their own femininity, elegance & beauty so many, for some reason prefer to downplay, as much as possible at any opportunity. For example, the choosing & wearing of matching lingerie is an experience. It’s about little perfections we can treat ourselves to that are known only to ourselves, if we prefer. It’s about having control of the appearance of something closest to our skin & most intimate to us. It’s about celebrating & enhancing the look & results of effort put into achieving a healthy, fit & toned figure, as well as a body treated with love & respect we create &/or maintain through our own efforts. It’s about “feeling” pretty & sexy whether we have on a pair of jeans & a sweatshirt or a great LBD.
I could go on & on about differences, observable details about & reasons for those differences but, I think I like what Tom has to say about the difference between French women & American women from his perspective. I just wanted to expand a bit on his observarions with a few from an American woman’s perspective.
This is a wonderful way to connect & experience others. I love it. So, thank you for sharing.
Pierre:. You sound a bit bitter, when you describe your interactions with American women & generalize dramatically about how shallow we American women appear to you. I submit, life is short & there is little point in falling in love with a person who cannot adequately share in the responsibilities &/or duties necessary to maintain a harmonious, minimally stressful relationship. If a man does not have a decent job, it says more about him than how much money he makes at any given point in his life of work. A person’s ability to be a stable, productive member of a partnership where there’s the possibility of years & years spent together or where there may be offspring is a necessary & natural prerequisite to any woman’s evaluation of a mate. It’s analogous to a man’s prerequisites regarding a woman’s looks & personality, as well as any other attribute he may require in a potential mate. After all, what is dating, if not the exploration of another’s potential as a life long partner regardless of whether it’s conscious or primal. So, your assertions that American women are insincere due to their interest in a man’s ability to support himself at present & potential for supporting her & her offspring going forward appear somewhat angry & embittered statements made by one who may have observed rejections out of hand. If that’s been the case, I’m hopeful they weren’t due entirely to income.
I submit, a closer examination asking frank questions of American women you may know might be more useful & educational than out & out negative judgements based on experiences that may not be typical or entirely understood by you. What do the American women you’ve questioned regarding this purely economical evaluation subscribed to men have to say on the subject, when you’ve questioned them as to it veracity?
The fact that as a teen I (purely accidentally by the way) lost my virginity to a California woman in the seventies and later on had a summerfling with a British woman while previously in my attempts at dating I had scant successes with French girls has long tended to color positively my view of sexuality in anglo-saxon countries , which, contrary to an established opinion on both sides of the Atlantic/Channel I find less puritan than in France. Later in life I started finally dating Frenchwomen, and my wife is admittedly French- although , tellingly, her first husband was a Scottish man and she lived a long time in England and the Canary islands-which are on all purposes a British colony-, but still the first impression I had in my salad days remains : I don’t believe in the urban myth of a French society more promiscuous than the Anglo societies , my whole life experience has shown me the opposite actually.
I think the whole idea of French women being “colder” than American ones may have less to do with wanting to seem more “desirable” than it does with the sort of attention they receive. I’ve received more male attention in Europe than I ever did in the US, and as result have developed a cooler demeanor than I may have once had to deflect a lot of it. I certainly don’t do it to be more desirable; I 100% would prefer it if men would leave me alone in most instances. I definitely didn’t want to have random conversations with men when I worked in restaurants, bookstores, etc. I wonder if that might not be why French women might be “colder.” As a woman who dates women (and also obviously has plenty of female friends) I’ve never found French women to be cold–far from it, really. I don’t see much difference between French and American women in that respect. The American ones just tend to be a bit louder about that warmth. 🙂